Cricket: The great game

Let’s turn up the volume. It is here. India vs. Pakistan plays for a berth in final. It doesn’t matter if India vs. Pakistan is a practice match, a group match, or a knock out. Pakistan for many followers and writers are a surprise entry in semis. One has to beg to differ. I mean Pak team is fuelled by uncertainty. You are never really sure what will happen next and you write them off then you be assure that the rug will be pulled off your feet and you will be biting dust and licking your lips.

The captains

Afridi and Dhoni lead their respective teams. They were quiet a mavericks swashbuckling best. Afridi turned himself into an excellent leg spinner and a mediocre batsman. Dhoni meanwhile has been very good behind the stumps, perhaps the best in the business today. Dhoni has been now been thin on runs; he would love to score runs today. Afridi can turn it on with the bat too, but ideally, that can wait for one more match, may be in the next match. Dhoni averages 54 against Pakistan. No one can forget that whirlwind 148 against Pak at Vizag where is just blew Pak away. Dhoni’s composure and his gambling instinct would be put to test. Afridi would bring his best foot forwards. It is more than just a match for both the teams.

The openers and the rest of the line up

Sachin Tendulkar needs no introduction, he needs no words of advice. Sehwag would want to unsettle a very incisive and capable Pak seam attack. Their counterparts are still feeling for international experience but that’s not taking away their explosive powers. Indians traditionally have had a settled opening pair for a decade or so. The opening gambit has been traditionally Pak bane but they more than make it up with the 5,6,7 and 8, in all probability Misbah, Younis, Razaaq and Afridi would be manning these posts. A settle number six and seven from Indian side have come good now, No one has forget Jadeja leaving Waqar jaded after an astonishing back end display of slogging that would have left Pak out of the game. Anwar and Sohail bought them back and were running away with the game till Aamir smashed one towards point and pointed his bats towards the direction only to find Prasad steaming in and blasted his off stump. Aamir walked back with his tail in between his legs.

India may want to consolidate their middle order. Yuvraj now has an extra burden to be consistent. India wouldn’t have come close to semis if Yuvraj wouldn’t be as good. Yuvraj may want to rub it in a little more against Pak. Virat, Dhoni and Raina will have to rally around Yuvraj.

Indian spinners have their work cut out. Bhajji has played more matches and he has taken wickets. He finds himself in company of Rizwan Cheema of Canada and Prosper Utseya of Zimbabwe while he competes against the highest wicket take (Afridi) and Hafeez and Ajmal. Bhajji needs to do better with the ball, his performance with bat won’t forever yield favourable result. Raina 9a more settled) and Kohli (in form) square against Umar Akmal and Shehzad to make a mark.

Zaheer and Umar Gul lead the charge of bowling department. Zaheer meanwhile may want to at least equal Afridi he doesn’t do too much damage with the ball. Zaheer has been quiet brilliant infact. Gul is so very good. Pak is perhaps depleted bowling attack after spot fixing controversy. In todays match fielding may just differentiate the winner and the loser.You would want watch this match for skills and graft, passion and panache watch it for sublime to ridiculous action.
The lull can wait after the storm has passed. It will resemble the great game. For now it is the game today.

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